From indulgent comfort foods to savory and adventurous fare, this gastronomic haven in the Galena Territory promises a feast that transcends expectations.
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, in the Galena Territory, has provided luxury accommodations and exceptional food to locals and out-of-towners for over 40 years. Its award-winning restaurant, The Woodlands Restaurant and Lounge, is known far and wide for offering fine dining at reasonable prices.
Eagle Ridge Executive Chef Randy Hoppman recently hired chef Chad Myers as The Woodlands’ new Chef de Cuisine. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Myers, who did an externship at Eagle Ridge in 2005 when completing his studies at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minnesota. He impressed Hoppman, then went on to hone his skills at restaurants and country clubs along the Mississippi River Valley.
“When we started advertising for a Woodlands Chef de Cuisine, Chad applied,” says Hoppman. “I gave him the reins to let him do his own thing. He has a passion for not just making food taste good, but making it look picturesque.”
From his previous experience at The Woodlands, Myers understands the core elements diners expect, yet he also loves testing new dishes as nightly specials and using customer input to determine menu items.
“We run a special every night and usually almost sell out,” says Hoppman. “We also have a seasonal menu insert to go along with the dinner menu.”
Some items – like Hoppman’s signature smoked corn and sausage chowder – are staples, but four times per year the chefs create new seasonal menus that take full advantage of fresh, local ingredients.
“There’s nothing better than produce picked the day of,” Hoppman says. “We try to buy local and organic, and in our own garden we don’t use herbicides and pesticides.”
Whether you want an extravagant night out or a delicious affordable dinner, The Woodlands’ menu accommodates every palate. Comfort foods include melt-in-your-mouth braised short ribs, fried half-chicken, Cobb salad and the famed Territory Burger: a half-pound Black Angus burger on brioche topped with house-made American cheese, hand-cut bacon, shaved onion, lettuce, a special sauce, juicy tomato jam and fried pickles.
“That’s one of our signatures,” Hoppman says.
Diners love the chefs’ twists on foods like filet mignon, Berkshire tomahawk pork chop, rosemary crusted rack of lamb and The Woodlands’ salmon gremolata. The menu features more adventurous fare as well, like grilled lobster tail and ravioli or blackened ahi tuna nachos. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are also available.
“We do a little bit of everything to capture every crowd. We always try to keep our high standards up,” says Hoppman, adding that Myers’ creativity, attention to detail and ability to stay ahead of culinary trends will uphold – possibly even elevate – those standards.
“I wanted him to come back just to do that, because he didn’t want to keep doing the same things,” Hoppman says. “He knew we were looking for a chef. And it was a perfect fit to keep our standards high, local, fresh and creative.”
The Woodlands at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.